I set myself the goal of reading 20 books this year and so far I’m on track! I’m currently reading my 14th book of the year but I thought it was about time I update you with what I’ve read with some mini reviews since I last updated you!
I should put a warning here to say that a lot of the books I’ve read this year haven’t been my favourites and I haven’t enjoyed massively! For that reason I’m going to list them below with my favs first instead of the actual order I read them in, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give some of my lesser rated ones a go as you might really enjoy them!
Penpal by Dathan Auerbach (4/5)
I’d never read a book like this and although I wasn’t immediately hooked, I really missed it once I’d finished! The book began as a series of short stories posted in an online horror message board (think reddit or creepy pasta) but was then expanded into a full novel. It’s told by a male who revisits some really scary, bizarre memories he has from his childhood which all build together to create a really uncomfortable, horrifying story. The chapters are told out of linear so sometimes makes it hard to follow, but I really enjoyed this and some of the stories really stayed with me long after reading.
(link)Currently £2.30 on Kindle
The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (4/5)
This was recommended to me by a friend and I was so excited to start it that I forced my whole book club book to read it with me. Not all of them finished it (or enjoyed it much) but I LOVED it. Let me warn you – it’s very surreal. You really have to suspend your disbelief and take things as they go but I loved this story and was immediately attached to the characters.
It follows Eric Sanderson who wakes up one day with no idea who or where he is. He looks around to find notes left by ‘the old him’ instructing him to do things – firstly visit a therapist, who tells him he is going through another memory loss episode because of a severe dissociative disorder, bought on by the death of his girlfriend Clio. The story gets very surreal and bizarre quite quickly and involves conceptual fish, dictaphone loops, ludovicians etc… but deep down it’s a wonderful story about love, memory, loss and it’s given me a quote I love so much I want it tattooed…
(link) Currently £2.80 from World of Books (FYI you need a physical copy of this to take the book in properly!)
Beside the Sea by Veronique Olmi (3/5)
Is it weird that I regularly google ‘most disturbing books’ and add them to my to read list? Well this was recommended in one of those lists. It’s a very dark, sad story about a mother with sever mental illness handles bringing up her two sons. She takes them away on a trip to the seaside for the day with little money and no medication and we follow her thoughts through this really difficult time.
(link) £5.69 on Kindle
Fold by Tom Campbell (3/5)
Another book chosen for the book club I’m in. Wasn’t something I would ever choose to read for myself but it wasn’t too bad! It had a veryyyyy slow start but I quite enjoyed it towards the end once I’d worked out who all the characters were! It follows a group of 5 middle aged men who meet up once a month to play poker and each chapter is told from a different guys perspective. They all play for different reasons but more importantly they aren’t all very fond of eachother and so it’s interesting to see their relationships. Wasn’t the best written book I’ve ever read but it was short and easy (and it really made me want to learn to play poker).
(link) £4.83 kindle
The House of Lost Souls by F.G Cottam (2/5)
I’m a big F.G Cottam fan after falling in love with his book Dark Echo a few years ago but I really didn’t love this story as much as his others. All of his stories have a gothic theme and all involve ghosts and the paranormal which I love – he has a way of writing really horrific villians just brilliantly.
This follows Paul Seaton, a journalist who is haunted by the paranormal after becoming obsessed with a mysterious, beautiful dead photographer Pandora Gibson-Hoare. The story switches between three different time periods – current day where he is asked to re-visit the Fischer House (scene of a horrid crime involving Pandora in the 1920s), the story of what happened in 1920’s told by Pandora’s diary excerpts and also the 80s when Paul first became aware of the photographer. I enjoyed this story and the imagery it produced but I found it very repetitive and slow in places. It could have been much shorter with the same effect.
(link) £3.99 Kindle
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (2/5)
I couldn’t even remember the plot of this book as I sat down to write this review despite only reading it in June which doesn’t bode well for a great review! I’d describe it as a psychological thriller that wants to be like Gone Girl or Girl on a Train but just not as brilliant. Some parts made no sense and just weren’t realistic at all which ruined it a bit for me.
It follows Louise who falls for a man in a bar, has a kiss with him and the next week finds out it’s her (married) new boss! She then becomes friends with his perfect wife whilst also continuing their affair and it gets messy… with a couple of odd twists along the way. The ending is just bizarre.
(link) £2.99 Kindle
The Face at the Window by Louise Welsh (2/5)
Again, another author I’ve adored books of but this left me disappointed. It’s a collection of three short ghost stories which are enjoyable but too small to really build fear or develop feelings for the characters of. Not much else to say about it except I loved her first two books in the Plague Times Triology so I would really recommend those!
(link) 99p on Kindle
Annihilation by Jess VaderMeer (1/5)
I feel really mixed about this book because whilst reading it I was SO bored and couldn’t wait to finish, however the story has really stayed with me and it filled my mind with imagery which I adored. It’s a dystopian novel where a part of America named ‘Area X’ is discovered and kept hidden by the government but is slowly growing and expanding. Weird things are happening within this space – almost magical plants grow, wild animals, unexplainable enviroments and nightly moaning growls. Four women are the 12th expedition sent to the area to research what’s happening there (no other expeditions have made it home safely) apart from the narrators husband. She is part of the newest expedition and we follow her journey into this new wild world.
One of the reasons I was really excited to read this was as it was also made into a Netflix film (starring Natalie Portman) and I adore reading a book before immediately watching it’s film adaption. I loved the visuals in the film and although the storyline and plots had big differences, I enjoyed it.
(link) £3.99 Kindle
Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawkings
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Both of these books were chosen for my Book Club and I’m sad to admit I didn’t make it past the first two chapters of both. I definitely prefer novels as opposed to science or research books and so found these hard to get into!
Wowza, that was a beefy post. I hope it’s given you some additions to your ‘to read’ list. If you want to keep up to date with what I’m reading then you can follow on goodreads (my fav website!).
Books on my to-read list next: Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville, Kismet by Luke Tredget, Together by Julie Cohen, I’ll Be Gone in The Dark by Michelle McNamara.
Have you got any book recommendations?